[games_access] Complaint regarding Florian Eckhardt

d. michelle hinn hinn at uiuc.edu
Fri Jun 2 18:56:12 EDT 2006

yikes. You know...why shouldn't we include some 
of these remarks in our talks? I'm not saying we 
should talk about it in a way that goes against 
our idea of letting developers know what they are 
doing right and not constantly telling them what 
they are doing wrong. But I think we've found in 
past GDCs that when we bring up a comment like 
the ones you just posted, it really hits a point 
about NOT how devs are insensitive to the issue 
of accessibility but maybe a bigger issue about 
how we view disabilities in society. It never 
ceases to completely quiet the room. It makes 
people listen to what we're saying. Because 
EVERYONE knows someone who is affected by some 
kind of disability. It only serves as a way to 
introduce why we fight so hard and why we are 
STILL trying to convince people to increase the 
accessibility of their games. Because people are 
getting excluded and that makes some people 
really happy for some sick reason.

It's interesting that these are comments from 
GAMERS, not developers. Ok, maybe some might 
think that pointing out such comments suggest 
that accessibility might decrease their current 
user base. We've heard this with regard to gender 
neutral games. But it's not the same issue -- we 
are not saying to attract gamers with 
disabilities, you need to change your storyline 
and remove characters x, y, and z from your game. 
But, wow, IF, for instance, all games had closed 
captioning already...would someone post these 
same type of comments? For example has Valve seen 
comments like "wow, I won't buy Half-Life 2 
because it has closed captioning in it and the 
last thing I want to do let a deaf person play 
this game too?" I doubt it. I doubt people who 
might make that comment would even notice. But 
the thing is, someone does -- someone who can now 
play the game.

I'm not suggesting this to push people away but 
rather inform our audiences that the bigger 
picture is that they CAN do something to stop 
SOME kind of bigotry in the world.. As I said at 
GDC when opening the session -- we get a lot of 
criticism in this industry for portrayals of 
violence, sexism, racism. Then we have government 
officials (esp in the US) yelling about censoring 
the industry versus free speech. But where's our 
US congressmen who is pointing out how we censor 
games every day ourselves through 
inaccessibility? Yeah I know, I can hear it now 
"whoa, that's too complex and gets us away from 
the issues." Yeah, ok. Yet, TV stations in the US 
have to provide closed captioning. Why? There's a 
lot of crap I'd rather not see on TV. But I 
suppose I *could* just change the channel, huh?

Why make a violent game accessible? Well, that 
seems like a bit of a Catch-22. By making them 
accessible are we promoting violence? Or are we 
promoting the idea that people should have the 
right to decide FOR THEMSELVES what they want to 

Yeah...the right to fun.

Ok...off soap box for the next minute, anyway.


>You should have seen the disgusting remarks people made when the idea
>of close captioning Doom3 was posted on a forum.
>"I don't know why we dont just shoot these people... put them out of
>their misery because they are obviously miserable. If it's not that
>hard, you do it ya twit!"
>"Because it's not cost efficient? Would you like some cheese with that whine?"
>"This is one of the stupidest posts ever. FPS games are not made for
>hearing impaired people. Why? Because subtitles like: "imp is hissing
>behind you", "fireball sound comming from 3:00 O'Clock", "bullet sound
>wizzes by your left ear". That would just be dumb. Here's the bottom
>line. FPS's ARE NOT FOR DEAF PEOPLE. case closed. How can any deaf
>person effectively play any FPS?? Grow up and stop being a stupid ass
>baby. "
>It goes on and on with more of this crap, all from 13 yr olds
>probably. but hey, Games[CC] sure showed them right?
>I am surprised that a popular site like Kotaku.com would be that insensitive.
>Anyway, I like the quote from Einstein, "Great spirits have often
>encountered violent opposition from weak minds."
>On 6/2/06, d. michelle hinn <hinn at uiuc.edu> wrote:
>>Dear all,
>>Indeed. This is highly offensive and I am highly offended. I understand that
>>it's hard to grasp a game that could be universally accessible, but that
>>doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to make games accessible to MORE. But
>>beside that, the language in his post is a bit unbelievable in this day and
>>age. I could take a million cheap shots at his comment (as I'm sure many of
>>us could) but I won't because, frankly, it's just not worth going there.
>>"The stupid and incompetent" ... I see that we have a long, long way to go
>>still. This might make a nice example to cite in our upcoming game
>>conference presentations and in our book, especially when developers find it
>>hard to fathom that we'd run across such bigotry...which we, unfortunately,
>>still do. Thoughts?
>>Michelle Hinn
>>Chairperson, IGDA Game Accessibility SIG
>>At 9:04 PM +0100 6/2/06, Barrie Ellis wrote:
>>Dear Brian and Alice,
>>I have transcribed a recent post on Kotaku.com below, which I find grossly
>>offensive. I'd appreciate it if you would read it through.
>>Retro Remakes Big 2006 Retro Remaking Contest
>>« previous post   next post »
>>Retro Remakes is sponsoring a huge honking contest to create the best remake
>>of a classic video game. There's £3692 worth of prizes to be won for "Good
>>remakes of good games that anyone can play, regardless of their ability."
>>We're puzzled by that last qualification: certainly, developing a game for
>>people with, say, amniotic banding syndrome in mind is a rather large
>>requirement to win a copy of a 2D scroller programming book. We assume,
>>then, that what they really mean is "Good remakes of good games that even
>>the stupid and incompetent can play." A lofty, if perhaps equally out of
>>reach, goal.
>>So if you're a dev who has just always wanted to give birth to a Frogger
>>clone but never could justify the time, head on over and check it out. The
>>prizes look quite good and the world could always use some more retro
>>Retro Remakes: The Big 2006 Compo [Retro Remakes]
>>I find his manner nasty in the extreme. Do you allow extreme racist,
>>homophobic or sexist comments on Kotaku too? If not, please explain to me
>>the difference. Are disabled people a softer target, and therefore fair
>>Barrie Ellis
>>www.OneSwitch.org.uk and www.igda.org/accessibility
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